Sunday, April 22, 2012

Demolition Day 1

What a day!  As I mentioned the other day, we have signed a lease on a building where we will eventually open the doors of 515 Brewing Company to the public.  The building has been many things in its life...a restaurant or two, a bar or two and possibly a couple of things we haven't heard of yet.  Needless to say, we have to do some work to it in order to match our vision for the brewery and tasting room.

With the receipt of our insurance paperwork this last week and a floor plan more or less finalized, we are finally able to get our hands dirty and start work on cleanup/construction prep.  We have not acquired our official building permit yet so we aren't doing anything major, but one thing was known from the moment we all first laid eyes on the space...the carpet had to go!

It had to go for many reasons, really.  First of all, it had so much stuff spilled on it in the last however long it had been down that it didn't exactly smell of roses!  Then take into account the fact that we will very likely have liquid spill onto the floor on occasion and carpeting seems like a pretty silly floor covering!  We thought that once we loosened a couple of edges that the stuff would just pull up without too much trouble. wrong we were.  I arrived first, thinking it wouldn't be that much trouble.  An hour later, this is all that I accomplished:

I had to stop pulling every couple of minutes to let my hands rest!

So, Ryan arrived after I had been working for about an hour and with a couple more tools and after about another hour we got this far:

That stuff just absolutely did not want to come up!  Next we tried to pull smaller sections up (about 12" wide).  That worked a whole lot better and the work on the carpet went much quicker...but was still pretty difficult.

One other thing we absolutely had to do was to remove a wall full of mirrors off of one of the walls.  One of the previous tenants in this place had even covered up two windows with mirrors.  Why, you ask?  We have no idea whatsoever!  It makes very little sense, but overall it doesn't matter because we have to pull them off anyway!  Below is what the wall looked like with all of the mirrors on it (forgive the horrible photo...just for an idea of the mirror wall!):

Our initial attempt at the first mirror (about 4' x 4') did not go well and we quickly broke a piece off.  It had been secured to the wall by half a dozen or more of these solidified putty-like disks.  Since neither one of us wanted to get cut and have to get medical attention on our first day of work we decided to unleash a little bit of frustration.  If the mirror didn't want to come down in one piece, we would make it come down in as many pieces as possible!  A few seconds later and a flying ice scraper and crowbar later and the mirror was down, Ryan and I were laughing somewhat maniacally and we could finally see what was behind the mirror wall!

After a suggestion by Ryan's wife during dinner, we did finally find a way to pull the mirrors down without breaking them (at least most of them) and finished off pulling down the rest of the mirrors.  If I remember right, we salvaged 3 or 4 of the 4' x 4' mirrors.  Not sure what we'll do with them, but once we get the wood  out of the windows it will be great to get some natural light into the brewery.

Photos of progress from day one:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

So, it has been awhile since my last post and work has continued to progress.  The website is continuing its evolution, recipes continue to be refined and we have looked at several more potential properties.  The property search, as I have mentioned before, is a very critical step in our plan as we can't file for our brewer's license without a location.

Our Realtor has been great to work with thus far.  He has put up with all of the requirements we threw at him and has been willing to work with us after normal business hours since all four of us continue to work at our original jobs.  We have been through some tough decisions and some tough moments in our search for a location, however, that search has finally come to an end!  We all got our keys to the new brewery (we can call it that now!!) on Friday.  I won't post just yet where exactly it is, but rest assured, that announcement will come soon enough.

This means that we can cross another huge "to-do" off of our checklist and now we can really start to build up steam towards actually opening our doors (now that we have them!).  You should be seeing some more activity in the next month or so.  We should be launching our website, opening up our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and, finally, releasing the location where we will be brewing and serving our beer.

I think I can speak for all of us that we were all a little giddy on Friday when we finally were able to put our hands on those keys.  It is a great feeling to make that huge step.  Now we need to finalize the ultimate layout of the brewery so we can submit our paperwork to the TTB (The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) so that we can get them working on issuing our brewery license.  That notice, along with similar notices from the State of Iowa and the City will allow us to finally use our commercial 3 barrel system to brew beer for sale.  Up until then, we can only continue to brew on homebrew setups in order to finalize our recipes.  Which, Brandon and I happen to be doing right now!  My Kolsh is now in the fermenter and Brandon's Shandy is coming out of the mash tun as we speak.

So, while it has been hard work up to this point in our plan, I anticipate things are going to get even more difficult over the next couple of months.  What is up next is to submit our licensing applications, clean up and build out the brewery/taproom, launch our official marketing plan and conquer the hundreds of smaller tasks remaining on our list.  It's going to be a crazy, crazy spring and summer, but it sure is nice to finally have a home for our venture!

Cheers and happy Easter everyone!